Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 7, 2011

Saturday, 7th May 2011 – Charles Dickens’ London of the 1800s.

I finished reading the Folio Society book ‘Dickens’ London ‘ this afternoon  – a selection of short essays written by Charles Dickens of his observations of various aspects of life in London around 1850.  Some interesting reading here, much of it rather depressing in terms of the poverty and crime, and general desperate state under which much of the population lived.  One description I noted, referred to the essays showcasing London of the time ‘in all it’s seedy, opulent, oppressive, liberating, and tumultuous glory’.  I think my favourite ‘essay’ was the last one in the book, called  ‘Night Walks’ in which the author, unable to sleep through the nights, spends the lonely hours wandering the streets of London, and, as he does with all the other essays, comments on every aspect of life that he comes across. Fascinating stuff – he refers to himself in this section as the ‘houseless one’, and uses other applicable ‘titles’ depending upon the nature or topic of the essay.

<!– Dickens' London –>Dickens' London

This selection of celebrated essays by Charles Dickens conjures up a peerless, eyewitness account of the 19th-century capital, from the rarefied world of Whitehall to working-class conviviality and blighted slums.  With a total of 26 essays, including ‘Greenwich Fair’, ‘Early Coaches’, ‘Private Theatres’, ‘A Parliamentary Sketch’, ‘Gin-Shops’ and ‘Scotland Yard’, this collection, with original illustrations by George Cruikshank, apparently is  one of the most popular titles ever published by The Folio Society in spite of being out of print for over thirty years.


Just in case my readers have never been introduced to Charles Dickens  –  well, he was born Charles John Huffam Dickens (February 7, 1812-June 9, 1870) pen-name “Boz”, was an English novelist. During his lifetime, Dickens was viewed as a popular entertainer of fecund imagination, while later critics championed his mastery of prose, his endless invention of memorable characters and his powerful social sensibilities. The popularity of his novels and short stories during his lifetime and to the present is demonstrated by the fact that none has ever gone out of print. Dickens played a major role in popularising the serialised novel. I suppose some of his most famous ‘characters’ would include the like of David Copperfield [my favourite Dickens’ novel], Oliver Twist, or Mr McCawber, amongst many others, and he would obviously base his characters in his stories on the kind of folk he met in his travels around London, and elsewhere.

Well, so much for Dickens!  Move on to something else now, and no doubt, very different.!

 Cooking a slow roast today  –  Susie suggested she intended to be home, and likely to eat a meal with me, so I am trying to prepare something a bit above ordinary, with the aid of my ‘slow cooker  Crock Pot’ I purchased last year after been introduced to the wonders of such a cooker when I visited my sister in Brisbane last October!


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